April 10th 2014

Business with a heart.

Can an enterprise contribute to personal wellbeing?
Dr. Giovanni Podini, CEO, Podini Holding AG

On April 9, 2014 Giovanni Podini, a died-in-the-wool businessman and social entrepreneur was the visiting speaker at the Entrepreneurial School® in the framework of the Alumni & Friends lecture series.

The CEO of Podini Holding AG, a pan-European operation with interests in real estate, energy, sugar, management consulting and wine, spoke about his special style of management.

Podini Holding AG is a company that for years has seen the human being as a key asset for corporate success. In the CEO’s opinion, responsibility and sensitivity towards employees, customers and society in general are central elements in running a successful enterprise.

He does not dispute that a company has to make a profit in order to survive and thus protect jobs, but the important question for him is HOW those profits are made. The solution he proposes is to combine work with ethical behavior.

Since 1972 the company has been active as a charitable sponsor in the fields of education and health care in Eritrea, Cambodia and India. In addition, in the framework of the Podini Foundation, startups are supported in those countries with the aim of developing businesses in the long term and creating jobs and thus added value for society in general.

This added value for society, and not the balance sheet total, is what Giovanni Podini sees as the true measure of corporate success. Success in that respect presupposes a rethink that replaces the business management approach with an economic policy approach.

The fact that Podini Holding AG takes its own corporate philosophy seriously is shown by the choice of the company for the 2014 Best South Tyrolean Employer Award.

The speaker’s very natural and winning style infected his audience and triggered a lively round of debate. The event was chaired by Professor Bernd Kirschner, Program Director for Business & Management and International Business at the MCI.